Illustration of a woman

Old Swedish postcards (Christmas)

During our time in Gothenburg we discovered a great little antiques shop called Fåfängan Antik. Collectable items were piled high but the postcards are what caught my eye. I collect nicely illustrated “things” and the older they are the better. So when I saw these I couldn’t resist. I’m curious as to what is written on them so if any Swedish speakers can help me translate the text on the front or back of these cards, I’d be super grateful.

This postcard reads ‘God Jul’ – Happy Christmas. The illustration is by a Swedish illustrator called Hedvig Rosendahl. I don’t know why but I find these elves being pulled down the hill by pigs really funny!

Illustration of pigs
God Jul / Hedwig Rosendahl illustration

I put the blue text on the right in to a translator and this is the result. The translation is quite disjoined but gives you a rough idea of what is being said.

Merry Christmas
(God Jul)

Hi and Hello! at full gallop
(For hi och hej! i full galopp)

Come now with joy strength jumps
(Di komma nu med frojd ork hopp)

To call Christmas in with you
(Att ringa julen in hos dig)

The postcard was sent to Herr (Mr) Rickard Weidling and he lived at Kaptensgatan 9 halmstad.

Handwritten message and stampFinding the creator of this next illustration took me ages. I based my searches on the initials H.E (bottom left corner) but it turned out they were actually E.H. This lovely illustration was in fact created by Elsa Hammar. There is hardly any information about her online but I discovered she was best known for her paintings of peasant life in Dalarna (Sweden). That makes me think the woman on the postcard is a Swedish peasant in traditional dress.

Illustration of lady with candles
En God Jul / Elsa Hammar postcard

I’d really like to know what this message says. I’ve tried to translate it but so far I’ve only picked out the following: ‘glader’ (shall be gay), ‘moster’ (aunt), ‘sig tile’ (the tile) and död (dead). I identified a few other words like ‘now’ and ‘the’ but they don’t give many clues about the bigger picture.

Handwritten message and stamp

Big thanks to everyone who has helped me translate this postcard.

“Wishing little Rickeman a merry Christmas and many Christmas presents. Folke has almost been dead but is now alive again, and is looking forward to Summer. Regards from Aunt Ellen and Uncle Carl.

The man pictured in this stamp is Gustaf V, King of Sweden from 1907 until his death in 1950. This stamp was in circulation circa 1908, which means that in 2015 it could be around 107 years old!

Green stamp and post mark
Gustaf V in medallion (5 ore)

I bought these postcards because I liked the illustrations. When we got home I had a proper look at them and they accidentally became a project. I began looking for illustrators, printing dates and kings on stamps. I’m not sure of the exact date the postcards were printed but based on others of a similar design, they may have been printed in 1910. If you are reading this and have information about anything I’ve covered, please drop me a comment below – thanks!

Part of my old postcards project (archive list).

11 comments on “Old Swedish postcards (Christmas)

  1. ork => och

    That is Swedish for “and”. So it is saying something like “come now with joy and hope”.

  2. This was harder than I thought it would be. I can’t work out what a lot of the words are because the hand writing is so messy. A native speaker could probably work this out easily, but my meagre knowledge is ruining that :/

    The postcard from Rickard is something vaguely like the following:
    “Wish little ??? many good Christmas days. ?? with health he has almost ??? death – new is now ??? spirit again in happiness ??? “

  3. The other postcard from Rickard says:

    “Merry Christmas
    Best wishes

  4. Merry Christmas (God Jul)
    Hi and hello! In full gallop (For hi och hej! i full galop)
    we come now with ????? and hope (Vi komma nu med früid och hopp)
    To celebrate Christmas with you (Att ringa julen in hos dig)

    • Thanks so much for your help Ryan! I think the handwriting was a big part of my translation issues – so hard to read. I will take your translation and see if I can work out any of the gaps 🙂

  5. @ryan: it’s fröjd, not früid – delight. The handwriting is eluding me though.

  6. Karl-Olof Hallman

    The Christmas card postmarked 23.12.12 (23rd December 1912) reads
    (en god jul) önskas lilla Rickeman och många julklappar. Calle hälsar – han har nästan varit död – men är nu lefvande igen o gläder sig till sommaren. moster Ellen o morbr Carl.

    “en god jul” from the other side of the card; Rickeman is a nickname for Rickard; lefvande = levande; o = och
    and a translation would be approximately

    we wish little Rickeman a merry Christmas and many Christmas presents. Calle sends his greetings – he has been almost dead – but is now living again and looking forward with joy to summer. Aunt Ellen and uncle Carl

  7. John Palmer

    The pigs on the vintage card were symbols of good luck on new year cards in many countries, along with horse’s hoof iron and four-leaved clover, and the fly agaric mushroom. These are folklore memories stemming from ancient European shamanism. The pigs have associations with sympathetic magic and can be traced to the Neolithic and Bronze Age.

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